Digital Miracles in Unlikely Places

After participating in Intel® She Will Connect, a teacher in Kenya taught her students to code: They developed an app that is saving lives.

Technology has the power to cut through income and gender barriers to open a world of opportunity to people everywhere—even those in the most underserved parts of the world.

In Nairobi, for example, high school girls are creating mobile apps aimed at transforming lives across Kenya, thanks to their extraordinary teacher and some help from Intel.

Embakasi Girls Secondary School sits amid mazes of corrugated metal shacks and muddy roads in the Mukuru kwa Njenga neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. Behind the school’s dilapidated doors, a surprising transformation is occurring: Teenage girls are embracing technology and using it to address real problems in their country.

Embakasi student Caroline Wambui, for example, worked with a group of friends to develop a mobile app to help match organ donors with patients who need transplants.

“I lost my uncle to kidney failure because of the lack of an organ donor,” she says, explaining that Kenya does not have a national organ donor program. “Instead, we have back-alley clinics where the organ black market thrives.” The organ donor mobile app that Caroline and her friends developed is now being tested in hospitals across Kenya.

Caroline’s achievement was made possible because of her remarkable teacher, Damaris Mutati. In 2012, Mutati began to integrate technology into her classroom after participating in the Intel® Teach program. In early 2015, she received additional training when Intel partnered with NGO Global Peace Foundation to bring the Intel® She Will Connect Program to her area. Through this program, Mutati learned how to teach basic digital literacy skills to others by using the Intel® Learn Easy Steps curriculum.

My involvement in Intel programs made the teaching and learning process in class very exciting.

Damaris Mutati, teacher

When International Women’s Day rolled around in March of 2015, several Intel employees helped celebrate by introducing Intel® XDK, a mobile programming language, to a group of high school girls in Kenya. Among them were several of Mutati’s students, including Caroline. Because Mutati had already done a great job arming her students with basic technology skills, the one-day session was all it took for the girls to begin coding and creating their own mobile apps.

None of us knew how to code, but Intel XDK was super easy to learn and use. A lot of things have changed for me since being introduced to coding. I now think of coding as a possible way to help solve most everyday problems.

Caroline Wambui, student

Mutati is proud that she is successfully encouraging more girls to take up careers in computing. “The world is very competitive and thus as a teacher it is important to prepare your learners adequately for competition,” she says. “By embracing technology, I am able to give them a level playing ground.”